Because coincidence is the fuel of Romantic Comedy!
What’s the Story?
Morioka Moriko is a thirty-year-old single woman who has just quit her job. Tired of the outside world, she shuts herself up in her apartment and plays this new online game she’s found. At first everything is fine as far as she’s concerned, she’s made her character, Hayashi, a male character, and has fun with her guild mates. She especially gets on with fellow player Lily, a cute girl character. One day though Moriko is forced to go outside and literally bumps into a handsome young man Sakurai. The real world is slowly invading Moriko’s NEET lifestyle and from more directions than she knows. You see Sakurai is actually the person playing Lily.
I’m really glad I found this series. Now admittedly at first I wasn’t all that interested in watching this show, I’m not much of an online gamer, so that side of the story didn’t interest me, and the title was a turnoff for me. I kept imaging that this was going to turn into something about Internet addiction, more interested in decrying the online world than anything else. Lucky this show has none of that and is instead a sweet, funny and heart-warming tale of two people finding one another. I’m so glad I came back to give this show a chance.
As for the story it’s a pretty simple one, we get introduced to Moriko and Sakurai and then its basically the two of them bumbling around until they learn exactly who the other one is and that’s really all this needs to be. Both Moriko and Sakurai are really sweet and fun characters and they’re very much perfect for one another. Moriko is shy and nervous and although we’re never given too many details about what happened at her previous employment it’s pretty obvious that her self-worth has been ground into the dust. She mumbles and hides her way through life, permanently embarrassed by herself, whereas the character she plays online is energetic and fun-loving and I feel a much truer representation of Moriko if she can just shed her self-doubt.
Not that Sakurai is much better. Sure he’s holding down a job and has a social life with at least one co-worker, but when he actually has to speak to Moriko he turns into nervous gibbering mess. He doesn’t want trouble or angst, he just want to pretend to be a cute girl and spent way too much money on outfits for said character. (I’d suggest that Moriko should keep an eye on her wardrobe, but 1. she doesn’t have a wardrobe and 2. the last episode is pretty good indicator that Sakurai is more interested in dressing her in cute clothes).
Both of these characters don’t believe their good enough for the other one and that’s what makes it so frustrating as even when they do run into one another in the real world they don’t come anywhere near admitting their feelings for one another without the other characters giving them a hard shove in the right direction. That being said their nervous and embarrassed reaction is often hilarious. They have great comic timing. The rest of the characters don’t really get much development and we hardly get to see any of them in the real world. I think probably the two characters that get the most screen time outside of Moriko and Sakurai are Sakurai’s co-worker who is the most active force in getting our two leads together and the guy who works at the convenience store who is the confidant of both leads in the online world. If the character doesn’t help move the plot forward, they don’t get any attention I’m afraid.
That is another thing about the plot of this show. It moves really fast. I mean it doesn’t take long at all for one of our leads to work out who the other one is in the real world and then the build up to the big confession. Yet the series never feels like its losing anything and the you still get the sense of build up and tension as we lead to the two main characters discovering one another. It is annoying though, this series is only ten episodes long and I feel there’s so much more that could be done with it and explored, and yet that ending is just perfect. Dammit I just want more! In the end it’s not about getting away from an online life, as all of the characters genuinely enjoy their time in the game, but it’s about finding someone that makes you want to be better.
The only real downside of this show is the sheer amount of consequences necessary to pull off the plot. Moriko and Sakurai not only have to be into the same game, they have to meet one another online and then meet in the real world. I do think the show is pushing it when it reveals that Moriko and Sakurai actually knew one another in another online game years before. I tend to let it slid though because this is a romantic comedy and a lot of romantic comedies are based on huge coincidences that would never happen in real life. If you can let that slide as well, then you’ll enjoy this show too.
In the end Recovery of an MMO Junkie is a sweet and funny tale of two awkward and self-defeating people managing to find one another, first in an online world, then in the real one. It’s bright, colourful and cheerful, with great comic timing and a pair of leads that you’re just dying to see get together. The plot moves fast and while it doesn’t spare much time for the side character, it keeps the focus where it should. I only wish there were more episodes of this show.
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.